Man stabbed to death by friend outside off-licence after sending joke text

Police at scene of stabbing in Walton Cardiff

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Yannick Cupido was killed outside an off-licence near Reading, running to a nearby alley after being stabbed in the chest. He was witnessed falling to his feet before reaching his mother’s house. O’Neal Joseph, 28, is appearing at Reading Crown Court after being charged with his murder. The court heard that Mr Cupido and a friend, Reece Weatherburn, had sent untrue messages to Weatherburn’s ex-partner, Mollie Brookes, on February 13, which said that he had been detained by police in connection with a stabbing incident.

The jury heard that Mr Cupido, 24, had joined Mr Weatherburn at his Reading flat that evening.

Prosecuting, Matthew Walsh said that O’Neal, as a friend of Weatherburn’s, had seen these messages and not questioned their veracity.

He told the court: ‘Joseph became increasingly angry during the evening, particularly when he couldn’t get hold of either Weatherburn or Mr Cupido.

“Learning of the fact that this was a prank appears to have been the catalyst for an argument and the exchange of angry messages between him and Mr Cupido when he eventually made contact with him on the phone.

“Mr Cupido made no apology for sending the spoof messages and Joseph’s temperature seemed to go up and up.”

The court heard O’Neal Joseph told Mr Cupido: “On my kid’s life, is something happens to r1 [referring to Weatherburn] and you just hung up on me and didn’t tell me where he is, I’m going to f*g kill you yk [referring to Cupido].”

Around 11:30 am, Mr Cupido left Weatherburn’s residence to return home to his mother’s house.

The jury was then shown CCTV footage of when Mr Cupido was allegedly ambushed by O’Neal Joseph.

At around 11.30 pm, shortly after the messages were sent, Mr Cupido left Weatherburn’s flat.

The court heard an argument is alleged to have taken place before he left, embarking on a three-mile journey home.

The court was told how O’Neal Joseph allegedly left his residence to search for Mr Cupido.

Mr Walsh said: “The prosecution case is that Joseph knew that Mr Cupido was heading to his mother’s address on Nire Road, Lower Caversham.

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“He had been told that by either Weatherburn or Mr Cupido himself. He left the house in order to seek him out. He wanted to confront him in his angry state.”

Approximately an hour after Mr Cupido left Weatherburn’s flat, he came across O’Neal Joseph near Mr Cupido’s mother’s door.

The court was shown CCTV footage of the two men appearing to confront one another, and argue on the street.

It is alleged that Mr Cupido headbutted Joseph during the event.

Jurors then saw on CCTV the moment that Joseph stabbed Mr Cupido, who then ran away from the scene on the stabbing.

Mr Cupido’s mother, present at the trial, was escorted out of the courtroom as she saw footage of her son falling to the ground after being attacked with the knife.

Joseph has admitted stabbing Mr Cupido, but has claimed it was in self-defence. He denies murder, but earlier admitted possession of a bladed article in a public place.

Mr Walsh told the court: They are together for about two-and-a-half minutes. They are both clearly animated and there is movement.

“It appears that at the end of the incident, having been stabbed, Mr Cupido drops an item into the gutter.

“By 12.33am, now having been stabbed in the chest, Mr Cupido can be seen to move off to Managua Close.

“He can be seen to fall to the ground. Whilst paramedics who arrived relatively soon thereafter did all they could, Mr Cupido was on a rapid decline to death from this moment.’

In the aftermath of the incident, Joseph sent a text to his ex-partner, which read: “As soon as he said “what” to me, I’ve grabbed a shank in my hand, and as soon as he said “what yea”, he’s gone what, boom, I’ve pulled the shank out BLOAH straight into his chest.”

The trial continues.

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